Walid Siti’s Fragile Construct
Walid Siti’s Solo Show Fragile Construct
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Meem Gallery in Dubai presents Kurdish artist Walid Siti’s solo exhibition titled Fragile Construct. On display are his mostly monochrome paintings, sketches, videos, and sculptures inspired by the cultural heritage of his homeland, Kurdistan. The show will be open to the public until the 3rd of February, 2024.

Walid Siti, Fragile Construct (installation view). Meem Gallery, Dubai, 2023-2024.

Among multiple symbols (flags, sculptural heads, and arches) depicted by Siti’s artworks, the main motif they share is two towers: a man-made one, the 9th-century Malwiya minaret of Samarra, and the Kurdish mountains. For the artist, who had to leave Iraq in the 1980s but kept watching its changing political situation from afar, the minaret became a symbol of power or sometimes fragility. 

By portraying the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan that are central to the myth and identity of those living in the region (the White Mountains (2019) and White Peaks (2023) paintings), Siti pays tribute to the sanctuary the peaks offered to the Kurds during years of persecution. “It is a place of refuge, a source of water, trees and fruit,” he says. “A whole livelihood for Kurdish people.”

Walid Siti, White Mountains, 2019. Acrylic on canvas. 120 x 320 cm

About the artist

Walid Siti (b. 1952, Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan), whose practice deploys painting, sketching, printing, and installations, graduated in 1976 from the Institute of Fine Arts (Baghdad, Iraq). After that, he pursued his education at the Academy of Fine Arts (Ljubljana, Slovenia), from which he earned his MA in 1982. In 1984, the artist sought political asylum in London (UK), where he still resides.

Delving into the themes of memory and loss, Siti’s work offers insight into a world that for him has been a place of never-ending change. The narrative of Siti’s experience of living far from but still deeply emotionally connected to the place of one’s birth is what he shares with many exiles. 

Walid Siti, Fragile Construct (installation view). Meem Gallery, Dubai, 2023-2024.

Siti has displayed his works in many solo and group exhibitions, such as Parallel Realms (Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, USA, 2014); Amed Art Gallery (Diyarbakır, Turkey, 2013); Rose Issa Projects (London, 2011); Erbil-Dubai: Chasing Utopia (XVA Gallery, Dubai, 2011); the 54th Venice Art Biennale (Pavilion of Iraq, Venice, Italy, 2011); Taswir: Pictorial Mappings Of Modernity And Islam (Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum, Berlin, Germany, 2010);  the 18th Istanbul International Art Fair (Istanbul, Turkey, 2008); Contemporary Arts Society (London, 2004); the 10th Asian Art Biennale (Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2002); the 5th Sharjah Biennal (UAE, 2001); Galerie De Boog (Ijsselstein, The Netherlands, 2000); the 9th International Biennale Of Prints & Drawings (Taiwan, China, 1999); and others. 

Walid Siti, Fragile Construct (installation view). Meem Gallery, Dubai, 2023-2024.

The artist’s works can be found in such esteemed public collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA), Barjeel Art Foundation (Sharjah), the British Museum (London), and the National Gallery of Amman (Jordan), to name a few.

To get more information about Fragile Construct, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Plaited Time / Deep Water by Lubaina Himid and Magda Stawarska

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